Category Archives: Mosquito Lagoon

Flood Tide – Mosquito Lagoon Edition

The lunar influence on the tides around Mosquito Lagoon are measurable, but unlike the tides of the spartina flats to the north it is a sustained level that impacts the estuary more so than the periodic incoming and outgoing tide cycle.

Fishing the flooded spartina in St. Augustine and Jacksonville is no doubt a worthwhile experience, but there are “flood” opportunities in Mosquito Lagoon. One of the most readily accessible of these atypical high water season fishing areas is manmade.

Over past decades the quest for control of salt marsh mosquitoes lead to the digging of many ditches across the entire lagoon to reduce breeding habitat. More recently, there has been an ongoing effort to remove the unintended consequence of this work, artificial upland areas created by piling spoil adjacent to the cuts.

Use Google Maps to locate remediated ditch lines where water is now allowed to sheet along the marsh and on high tides you will find redfish meandering along in the mangrove shoots looking for an unsuspecting crab or mosquito fish.

A Differing Approach

Tailing redfish are extremely fun to target when sight fishing. Depending on the type of bottom they are feeding over, they can also be frustrating beyond belief to feed successfully.

One of the reasons for it in thick grass is the fact that their vision is impaired by the grass itself.

The next time you’re experiencing apparent refusals, keep in mind it may simply be that the fly is not being seen.

Switching to a top water fly may be contrary to conventional wisdom, but it works.

Cast a foot or two ahead of the direction the fish is feeding and wait for it to move. A couple of subtle strips is usually all it takes to get their immediate attention and you find yourself clearing line and getting on the reel.

The fall lunar cycle is piling water up inshore, now more than ever, you might consider this different approach to tailers. It could spell the difference between success and failure.

Slow Down & Pole

I’m astonished nearly ever time I spend time on the water in Mosquito Lagoon at the pace other anglers move through an area. Their arrival under power to a flat disrupts the natural flow of its inhabitants and rarely do they stick around long enough to see the true personality of the place before firing up the outboard and departing for the next stop on the milk run.

I’m certainly not complaining, this frenetic pace often leaves the best areas I frequent a veritable ghost town. The less human impact on the areas the better for my experience.

I was sitting at the end of a long dock alongside the intracoastal waterway a few weeks ago waiting on friend to arrive in his skiff when I had the chance to talk to a neighbor who was lamenting on his lack of success on the water. He was frustrated and seemed surprised when I said that there were lots of redfish in the areas he was getting skunked. As we talked more it became apparent to me that he was taking a random run and gun approach to his fishing and the lack of success was self imposed.

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I’m no expert, but I do spend a good bit of time on the water, so I shared with him what I felt were keys to my success.

1. Fish only three places that are in close proximity until you are confident that you understand when they are productive and why and have the track record to prove it.

2. Become intimate with the area, pole it, go slow and learn the nooks and crannies and what you should expect to find on low or high water. Dedicate time to simply sit back and observe, leave the rods stowed and observe the fish and their movements without pressure.

3. Write it down. Make note of conditions and what you found worked in those situations. I often refer to data from years past when I want a change of venue. I’m always surprised at how well I do when I go somewhere based on past notes vs. flying by the seat of my pants and hoping.

Time on the water is meant to be enjoyed. Slow down your roll and soak it all in, just don’t soak bait.

Nomadic Drum

The Kennedy Space Center occupies only a small part of NASA’s property along the Space Coast in East Central Florida.  Much of the land is also managed as a National Seashore and Wildlife Refuge.  There are areas of the Mosquito Lagoon estuary that are widely considered the oldest marine preserve in the nation due to having been included within the security buffer zone that has protected America’s space program for decades.

A unique by product of the space mission has been the opportunity to study relatively unchanged habitat that rarely sees influence from man made craft or pressure.  The results of one of the programs, a tagging study, was recently included in an article in Spaceport Magazine , a NASA publication.

Take a look at the article on pages 32 – 35  in the June 2014 Volume 1 No. 3 issue by clicking here.

 

Catch & Release Is The Rule For Mosquito Lagoon

There is a burgeoning movement afoot amongst those who spend time on the waters of Mosquito Lagoon in Central Florida chasing redfish and speckled sea trout.  Its a quiet, but sustained, call for a change in guiding practices.  Its being brought about by the heightened awareness of most anglers to the estuary’s troubles with extreme angling pressure and degraded water quality.  Armed with the knowledge that the resource needs a helping hand, more and more anglers are becoming vocal on social media calling for charter captains and others to make Catch & Release the standard practice rule, rather than the exception.

The angling community is changing its attitude towards the long held idea that the Mosquito Lagoon is a place to go fill your cooler.  While anecdotal, there is a wealth of evidence that points towards shrinking numbers of large breeder redfish, as well as a decline in juvenile redfish.  Despite a majority of anglers recognizing the state of the fishery as one that is in decline, some guides see the change to C&R as potentially harmful to their business and have taken to social media to promote how splendid the fishing has been and that the resource is bountiful. Their hype is not true.

The joys of angling are many.  Lowest on most anglers list is the consumption of their catch.  The beauty of the environment, the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the fight are more truly the reasons than most anglers will spend countless hours on the water in search of fish.  Recreation is the goal.

The Catch & Release movement is shaping what is considered ethical and reasonable within the guide community whether the guides sign on or not.  Why?  Because their clients get it.  They’re out for a great day  catching lots of fish.  C&R will lead to better opportunities for fish filled days, which of late have been the exception throughout the estuary.

Their clients get it because they want their children and grandchildren to have the same opportunities they’ve had, if not better.  They’re buying in because its the only way it will happen.

The C&R movement is not saying to guides, don’t take a single fish; the angling community is calling for a more responsible approach that educates charter clients on the current state of the resource and encourages Catch & Release.  The community is asking guides to forgo the practice of adding “their” fish to the clients limit.

Its always tough to change.  Resistance to change is expected.  The guides that are early adopters of the Catch and Release movement will be the ones who benefit the most.  Word will spread and the guides will be rewarded with praise and referrals.

Catch & Release is the rule in Mosquito Lagoon and its here to stay.